[Sponsored By: Grand Targhee Resort, WY]
The decade was the 1960’s and the flavorful characters to call Teton Valley home were concerned with different matters than the times of that turbulent era. Invigorated by a 1966 establishment of Grand Targhee Incorporated, group members and locals desired to develop winter recreation capable of enriching not only the community and economy but make for rip-snorting family fun along the way.
On December 26th 1969 the hard work paid off. Grand Targhee Resort, WY was open and spinning for 2,000 skiers, on day 1.
Fast forward fifty years. Snow technology has changed, and skiing along with it, yet Targhee’s vibe is no less grand than it was that first post-Christmas date.
Subsequent years can be measured much like the resort’s vertical feet (nearly 2,500 at max). New names would rise as Targhee stewards. Snowboarders would receive official welcome. Terrain would expand and accessibility too. But the staunch character of the Tetons would remain true.
Evidence of Grand Targhee character made headlines in 1990, when tragic fire consumed a lodge and nearby base facilities. Result: the locals pitched tents, and kept on skiing.
While the good times were growing so too were Grand Targhee Resort amenities. Conveyors and high-speed quads, nordic trails, terrain parks, and cat-skiing evolved to life alongside a moderate base area, lodging, camps, music festivals and 70+ miles of crosscountry and downhill bike trails (once the fat snowpack finally melts).
Situated idyllically a mere eight miles from mighty peak Grand Teton, and approachable only via Driggs ID, the resort has grown by leaps and bounds. Today it is an admirable family adventure recreation destination.
Marc Hanson, director of ski and snowboard instruction at Grand Targhee called his home mountain “a unique blend of mountains, people and energy.”
“My wife and I came here for one year,” he said. “Now it’s our twenty-seventh.”
“I can’t imagine going anywhere else.”
A half century of skiing–and three decades of snowboarding–is ample cause for celebration at a classic resort destination that already loves a good time. If it’s wild, free, and downhill then it’s probably been seen at Grand Targhee.
Paralleling the milestone anniversary is an equally proud celebration acknowledging the 30 year presence of the snowboarding on Teton slopes. Grand Targhee was among the nation’s first resorts to welcome snowboarders. And those festivities are a happy addition to Targhee’s season of anniversary celebrations.
“Grand Targhee has a great feel to it,” said Jennie White, marketing director at Grand Targhee Resort. “It’s different. People coming here to enjoy each other, the snow, the conditions, and just have a great time.”
Targhee’s nefarious and hilarious Carboard Box Derby adds its own April touch to the banner year. Additional 2019 anniversaries include an 8th annual Pond Skim as well as 6th year of Crazy Snowmobile hill climbing. These relatively ‘young blood’ events–aside from being uproariously fun–round out Targhee heritage with an addition of something comparatively ‘new’ to a timeless classic.
Grand Targhee Resort has every intention to roar into the next fifty-years. Recent capital improvements to the tune of nearly 2 million dollars has provided the resort with much welcomed momentum toward several projects. Expansion of decking at Trap Bar, grading work upon Powder Reserve Traverse, and acquisition of new grooming equipment are but taster items to what local news describes as a larger “master plan.”
The sky is the limit when it comes to Grand Targhee’s potential for future growth. Pending necessary approval, the resort may even see increased base area and new lodges to host another five decades of good times on the wet side of the Tetons.